The cheapest and most expensive bank accounts in South Africa

 ·31 Jul 2017

While South Africa’s banks ramp up competition to offer the most affordable banking account for consumers, they have not forgotten about their premium clients.

With few exceptions, South Africa’s banks offer a wide variety of bank accounts to meet the needs of customers with different banking requirements.

Even the one-account Capitec Bank has moved to offer more, having introduced a credit offering for clients of its Global One account who need higher-level banking options.

For low income earners, or those who have simpler transaction needs, all banks now offer entry-level accounts, which are competitively priced to try and capture the market once dominated by Capitec.

The “golden” mid-tier bank account offerings have also broadened over the years, with banks trying to draw in customers with inclusive bundles that cover most of the day-to-day transactions of South Africa’s middle class.

Finally, there are premium accounts, which throw on all the bells and whistles high-income earners might enjoy including access to airport lounges, and direct access to traders and wealth managers to assist with more complex transactions.

For a breakdown of mid-level (‘gold’) accounts, you can read: South Africa’s 2017 banking fees compared

Below, we’ve broke down the costs involved with South Africa’s cheapest, and most expensive bank accounts.

South African entry-level accounts

Determining the cheapest account in South Africa would depend on the types of transactions a client would need. From a pure entry level, Absa’s Transact account carries the lowest monthly fee (R4.95), and also the lowest withdrawal fee at point of sale (R1.15).

Withdrawals are a little more complicated, as Standard Bank and FNB charge per R100 – while the other banks carry a single fee. This means the former two are cheaper as for withdrawals under R300 (at R4.80 and R5.55, respectively), but get more expensive than the other banks after that point.

Bank Account Monthly Fee Withdrawal (Native) Withdrawal (Other) Withdrawal (POS) Cash Deposit (ATM)
Absa Transact R4.95 R5.00 R8.50 R1.15 R3.95 + R1.35/R100
Standard Bank Access R4.99 R1.60/R100 R6.70 + R1.60/R100 R1.60 R1.60/R100
Nedbank PAYU R5.00 R6.50 R8.00 + R1.85/R100 R2.00 R4.00 + R1.40/R100
FNB Easy R5.25 R1.85/R100 R8.00 + R1.85/R100 R1.40 R0.90/R100
Capitec Global One R5.50 R6.00 R8.50 R1.50 R0.90/R100

South African premium banks accounts

At the premium level, Capitec, while it argues it is for all types of clients, does not have a comparable account. However, Investec’s private bank account steps in to fill that void.

Premium monthly account fees are higher than mid-tier “gold” accounts, but the pay-as-you-transact fees do not change. Thus the withdrawal fees and the like are similar to those seen with the gold accounts.

Investec is the exception here, as it does not offer a ‘mid-tier’ account at all. It’s withdrawal fees, and a slew of other transactions are all covered by the monthly account fee of R495 per month. However many of its service fees are on the pricier side.

You can see these fees here: Investec Private Banking Fees.

Where premium accounts differ the most is on their monthly account fee, and in the minimum salary requirements needed to have access to this account.

Bank Account Monthly Fee Minimum salary required Minimum per month
Investec Private Banking R495 R800 000* R66 700
Standard Bank Signature Banking R425 R1 100 000 R92 000
Absa Exceller R399 R750 000 R62 500
Nedbank Private Wealth Platinum R384 R1 500 000** R125 000
FNB Private Wealth R365 R750 000 R62 500

* or R20 million in assets | ** or R5 million in investable assets

Moving beyond the available – or publicly listed – account offerings from South Africa’s banks, super wealthy individuals have access to an even higher, ‘invite-only’ tier of banking options.

These include offerings on American Express and also MasterCard. These types of accounts are often shrouded in mystery – which adds to their ‘exclusive’ appeal, and have fees and charges customised for the individuals who qualify.

You can read more about these types of exclusive offerings here.

Read: The most valuable banking brands in South Africa in 2017

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